Under $10 Amazon fashion finds this week

This week on Amazon I found some pretty awesome stuff all under $10. Some under $5. That’s a pretty good shopping “trip” for me. Let’s take a look and tell me what you think-

 

This shirt is great for the fall weather we’re having here in Atlanta. I picked it up in Heather, Mint, and Oat. At $8.99 = $1.99 shipping, they just made the under $10 cut.

    

Then I found these cardigans to go with it. In the South it’s essential to layer as we start in the morning with the heater and have the A/C on after lunch. They’re available in a multitude of colors, too! At just under $6 each and $2.99 shipping, they’re a great buy!

   

This scarf is fab! I picked it up in Blue&Gray, Red, and Black. $5.58 or less!

These bracelets are amazing! Under $3 each shipped with Prime!

   

And of course we have to have earrings. All under $6 shipped!

                  

I didn’t find any pants or skirts to pair with this week. These styles go well with jeans, maxi skirts, pencil skirts, etc. I plan to mix these with jeans and boots. Not a bad week for the under $10 grouping!

Costume search craziness

 

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Ethan has no real idea about Halloween or dressing up. His version of dressing up is stealing my flip flops or hats and wandering through the house with them. The past 2 Halloweens, I picked his costumes out based on things he liked and all worked well. Now we are 2.

Let me clarify- while I know HE is 2, since I am living in this fun-house of 2 year old drama, I claim it as well. So anyway, now we are 2. This in and of itself is a crazy enough time. Add in trying to get a clueless 2 year old to add input other than “no, I don’t like that” when searching for a costume and mommy starts to get that glazed eyed look you see with the mentally insane.

In the last 2 weeks or so he has discovered Spiderman. At first, I worried about it being a bit old for his age, but I watched a few episodes and there was nothing inherently wrong with the cartoon. Since every other time I turn on the TV he whispers in his manly 2 year old voice “Spiderman!”, I have given in. He’s now watching super heroes.

This brings us back to the current search for a costume. Apparently 10 days before Halloween is not the best time to finally decide what your child will willingly wear. I went to the consignment store… it was not pretty. There were bits and pieces of costumes, but unless your child is 6 months old, that was definitely not the place. I managed to escape only spending $25 on miscellaneous clothes. It’s a big day when that happens. I also got a chuckle at the fact the parking lot looked like a minivan convention.

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My next stop was Target. It was in the same parking lot, and I’m all about combining trips. Surely, there would be a Spiderman costume available at Target.  No such luck. I found almost every size except 3T. I did find what was once a costume set in 3T, but someone made off with the pants. Drats! I did find some Thomas Train pull-ups, though. Go me!

As I’m driving up the road heading in the direction of Wally World (shoot me please), I remember there’s a Party City tucked into a shopping center on the way and right down the road from my scheduled final destination- Aldi. I’ll tell you more about them in another post.

I’m not sure how this Party City remains open. There are rarely people there when I drop by for whatever, and apparently they had not been slammed for the Halloween rush yet. The costume aisle was mostly empty, save 2 moms with toddlers. It must be a thing. So anyway, I managed to find muscle shirt Spiderman set in a size 3T.

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And miracle of miracles, he was excited when he saw it and loves the idea of pretending to be Spiderman for a couple of days. Thank you, Lord, for yet another blessing and the saving of the remainder of my sanity.

Potty training is not for the weak…

Okay, we’ve reached that time in our lives… the time when we become consumed by pee and poop. No, I haven’t discovered a new fetish (thank goodness!), but it’s time for my two and a half year old son to stop using a diaper. The diaper thing isn’t working for any of us anymore. He cries when it’s dirty. I cry when I have to change it. Hubby cries when he has to smell it.

We’ve tried the Pull-ups- he just considers them a less cumbersome diaper. We’ve dragged him kicking and screaming to “try” going potty after a long session of playing. He’ll go, but the screaming and kicking and sheer amount of whiny brattiness is enough to make them fit me for my own “hug-myself” jacket.

He goes potty when he’s there. He’ll pee, he’ll poop. He’s never used a kiddie potty- thank all things Holy, because I think cleaning that might be worse than the diapers. His biggest issue is getting distracted. If he’s playing or watching TV or basically anything we do at home, he doesn’t even think about it. Now put us in the grocery store with a cart full of food, or in a restaurant right about the time my food arrives, and he’s a rockstar!

Enter the Potty Watch.

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Ethan is very regimented about some things. He likes certain things to match up. When one things happens, it’s automatically connected to the result and we hear about it forever. He also LOVES wearing a watch. I’m strolling through the baby store with my cart full of must have potty training aids (amazon links included)- training pants, vinyl covers, flush-able wipes, fold-able potty seat when the nice lady asked if I was finding what I needed. I figured she might have some input since she works in a super big baby store and maybe she could help. I was determined to get this ball rolling and get out of the diaper changing doldrums.

She says “Have you heard of the potty watch?” and explained it. A bell dinged in my mind. Yep, gotta have it. He LOVES it. When it goes off he heads to the potty- or starts whining incessantly to go to the potty, depending on where we are. It’s fabulous! The only issue is getting the timing right. We started at 30 minutes which was just too often for him. We went to 60 minutes which was not a good fit either. We settled on 45 minutes, and like Goldilocks, it was just right.

He still has to learn to go when the watch doesn’t tell him to… but I’ve actually got him in a some nice Spiderman underwear today with no padding. I figure 1 or 2 accidents should sufficiently traumatize his super clean self and make him go when he has to go. It’s worth a shot anyway.

It’s finally FALL!!!

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I had to turn the heat on this morning. As I left this morning to take the toddler to school, there was frost on my windows and on the grass. It will be 80 degrees today. It’s fall, y’all! Yes, I know, pumpkin everything has been out for weeks, but here in Georgia, it doesn’t FEEL like fall until you’re running the heat in the morning and the A/C at night. It’s time to dress in layers… that sweater of the morning will have you a sweaty mess before afternoon. Don’t go packing away all the shorts and tanks yet, though… We’ve seen 80 degrees on Turkey Day many times.

So as I sit and crochet items to put in my lifewithmommy Etsy store and work on adding Christmas and winter cards and invitations to my WrittenSimply Etsy store, I’m not really feeling it. It’s only a little over 2 months until Christmas. I know I need to get stuff done, but how can I be excited about spitting out hats and scarves and such when it’s 80 degrees? Until this morning it didn’t FEEL like fall. Thank the Good Lord that the morning dew became frost so I can get some boogie in my butt to get this stuff done!

What’s on my hook

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I have so many works in progress that I’m a little overwhelmed. Christmas is coming. I need gifts. I need stuff to sell. I need cute things for the kids in my life to wear. It’s a jungle of yarn around here… so here are a few patterns I’m working on currently-

A hat and bootie set for a friend- Just like the one I made for another friend recently. You can find that post here.

A sweater for my mother- like this, but with white and gray and light blue for the colors.

Minion Hats for a Halloween costume for a friends kids.

An infinity scarf and boot cuff set for my niece- Pattern being written as I go.

A hat for my hubby.

What’s on your hook?

Hat and bootie set- hat pattern included

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A friend of mine, the fabulous Katelyn, asked me to put together a hat and ballet shoes for a friend having a little girl. I had fun with this one.

It’s a simple double crochet cross-stitch (skip stitch, dc, dc in skipped stitch) after the increase rounds are finished with 3 rows of single crochet in alternate color and then a simple chain 3 ruffle edge. I embellished with a bow since the mom in this case isn’t too girly. This is my first written pattern, so let me know if it doesn’t work as intended.

Items needed-

  • 2 colors of worsted weight yarn- I used partial skeins of ILTY in gray and pink
  • Size G hook
  • scissors

Here goes-this pattern is intended for newborn. You can increase the size by continuing to the increase rows to the size needed and then starting the criss-cross pattern.

Round 1- Magic ring- Chain 2, DC 10 times in ring, join

Round 2- chain 2, 2 DC in each stitch around, join

Round 3-  chain 2. 2 DC in first stitch, DC in next stitch* around, join

Round 4- chain 2, 2 DC in first stitch, DC in next 2 stitches* around, join

Round 5- chain 2, 2 DC in first stitch, DC in next 3 stitches* around, join

Round 6-10- chain 2, skip 1st stitch, DC in next stitch, DC in skipped stitch* around, join

Round 11-13- alternate color – chain 1, SC in each stitch around, join

Round 14-15- chain 2, skip 1st stitch, DC in next stitch, DC in skipped stitch* around, join

Edge- chain 3, sc in next stitch* around, join, finish off.

Weave in ends

For the bow-

chain 15

SC in 2nd chain from hook and across, turn and repeat for 4 rows. It should look like a wide, thin rectangle. Wrap yarn around the middle until you get a nice center and tie off. Sew or crochet onto hat.

For the shoes I used this pattern by Haley M on Ravelry-

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flower-slippers-3

I made a bow instead of the flower to embellish and did an SC edge in alternating color to match the hat.

The C word

No not that C word, you gutter brain. I’m talking about Cancer. The one disease that we’ve all heard about and hope never happens to us. Let me tell you a little story…

My husband is 58 (yes I’m 37… it’ll be okay). Due to prior family history, my husband has been tested twice per year for elevated PSA  (prostate specific antigen)since he was 48 or so. Well over the last 2 years we’ve seen slight increases, but nothing too concerning. In February that changed. His PSA came back elevated at 4.7. We retested- 4.2. What does that mean, you ask. It means it’s time for a biopsy. It means there is a greatly increased chance of prostate cancer. It means you’re scared sh!tless.

ProstateCancerInfographic

Off he goes to have a biopsy at the urologist. This is a procedure where they stick a machine up your bum and take samples of the prostate. It’s loud, painful, and torturous if the doctor doesn’t believe in any form of pain relief or sedation. Thus was the case for hubs. Alas, he did the deed, and we waited for results. And waited. And waited. 3 weeks is forever when you’re waiting to find out if something is eating away at your body. Finally, the day came for the results.

You walk into a room not unlike the GYN room we women are faced with. On the patient exam table is a box of tissues. You’re left there for what seems like ages, staring at this box of tissues, before the doctor finally comes in. He delivers the news- You have cancer. Not a little, but 9 out of 12 samples. Your only option is complete removal and let’s set up a bone scan to make sure there’s no metastasis. No one smiles as you leave. No one tells you it’s going to be okay. No one cares.

Because we have an almost 2 year old (at that time) who’d fallen asleep, my husband opted to take the appointment alone and left me in the car. He was shell shocked. I called my mom from the car while I’m waiting (not my mother- different story, different time) and she says to get a second opinion. Not about whether it’s cancer, but about how to treat it. She’s been through cancer before.

After some discussion, we decided we did indeed want another opinion and we needed to figure this out. We are blessed to now have Cancer Treatment Centers of America on the other side of Atlanta. We are even more blessed that they’re completely covered by our insurance. We gave them a call and set an appointment. He went through with the bone scan and got the reports- no metastasis! Yay!

We got an appointment with CTCA for the next week. Between that initial contact and the appointment, we talked to several people. And they all seemed to genuinely care about how we’re doing. We went for 3 days to CTCA, staying in a hotel room and taking our little man along with us. We’re a team and that’s how we roll. CTCA had options. Not just removal, but several types of radiation, chemo, and surgical options. Praise God for guiding us to another opinion.

After some deliberation and meeting with urology, oncology, and radiation doctors, we decided on a minimally invasive treatment plan. It’s a radiation therapy called HDR Brachy Therapy. Basically, they give you enough radiation in each treatment as they would for a 3 week period, but it’s all targeted to the specific tumor/capsule area. This only works if the cancer is contained. After MRI and volume studies they determined that it was incapsulated and that this would be a good option for treatment. It takes time to set this up, so in the meantime to stop further growth and shrink the tumors, they gave him a hormonal chemo shot then, and another 4 weeks later.

This week we started the HDR Brachy therapy. It started a 7:30am and we were released to head back to the hotel at 3:30am. Ethan was a little champ. Not really complaining, just rolling along and doing what we needed. Hubs is handling it well overall. He’s tired and achy and run down a bit, but so far it’s not nearly as bad as we feared. We go for round 2 on Nov 3. If all goes well, that should finish the cancer nuking process and we should be able to move on with our lives. He’ll always have to be tested, and we will always have to worry it will come back, but worrying accomplishes nothing, so we’ll try to follow the path God leads us on and move forward from there.

A few facts about prostate cancer-

  • Most usually it’s diagnosed in men over 50, more often in men over 70
  • 1 in 6 men will statistically have prostate cancer
  • If your father had it, the likelihood increases to 1 in 3
  • PSA testing and digital rectal exams are the most common methods of diagnosis
  • Diagnosis is key, as it’s highly treatable in early stages
  • Prostate cancer metastasizes to the lymph nodes and from there to the bones

Get checked! Nag your husbands to get checked!

Quick shrimp pesto pasta

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Okay, I’m the first to admit, any recipe that is quick or easy is going to go on my menu plan before anything even remotely time consuming. My life is too busy to be that supermom that makes complicated dishes and serves them up with flair most nights. Some nights I’m barely able to get a meat and a starch on the table that isn’t full of processed crapola.

Recently, I decided to start trying out some new quick and easy dinner recipes to see if maybe I can get the combination of picky toddler/picky hubby to eat them. So far shrimp pesto pasta has been a win. Little man picks out and eats the pasta, big man covers it in hot sauce, mom gets dinner on the table in 30 minutes. Go me.

Keep in mind most of what I use is organic, or from GMO free pledged stores. Most of what I use can be made with standard store bought goods, though.

So here is what you need:

1 bag frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined- 24-30ct

small container heavy cream (8oz is fine)

2 cups of grated Italian blend cheese (or grate your own mix

4 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

3 tbsp pesto (or more if you like)

garlic salt to taste

half a box of penne pasta

Fill pot with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta.

Start by melting a tablespoon or so of butter in a pan on med-high heat.

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Add garlic salt and shrimp.

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Saute until pink and firm, but don’t overcook. Remove to a separate plate.

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Melt remaining butter in  same pain over medium heat.

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Once butter is melted, add flour.

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Whisk until all flour is wet and thickens almost to a paste. Do not burn.

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Add cream a little at a time, whisking to incorporate and thickening some before adding more.

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Add pesto and a handful of the Italian cheese. Whisk until thickened a bit… about the consistency of alfredo sauce.

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Drain pasta (should be al dente)

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Add pasta to sauce.

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Add shrimp to pasta and sauce and mix in well.

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Cover with remaining cheese.

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Cover pan with lid and let simmer for 3-4 minutes or until cheese melts on top.

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All done! I usually serve with dinner rolls, crescents, or french bread if I’ve had time to make bread. You can chop up and add fresh spinach or sauteed/steamed broccoli to this as well. I usually steam or saute broccoli and serve along side. The whole meal from start to finish takes me about 30 minutes, most of that being waiting for the water to boil for the pasta.

So there you have it. Fast and easy. If you’re not a fan of shrimp, you can substitute sauteed chicken, but make sure you cook it through before adding to the pasta.

Happy eating, y’all.

Back in the saddle…

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For the first time since late 2010, I decided to have a table/booth at the Winter Carnival at my sons preschool. As some of you know, we used to have a retail store selling hand crafted (by me) soaps, candles, bath and body products, etc. When we closed the store, I simply stopped. Stopped selling, stopped crafting, stopped doing what I enjoy. Since then, I’ve had a son, moved twice, and had so many life changes that I didn’t feel the lapse as I might have otherwise.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I took a hit emotionally that I’d somehow managed to bury when we were forced to give up our hard earned  dream and go home. I guess more than my finances took a punch at that point. My confidence did, too. Why wasn’t what I made good enough? Did I let my husband, family, friends down by not coming through? Did I let God down by not being a proper steward of his provisions?

The true villain in our disastrous business failure was the tanking of the economy. We held on until we couldn’t. Unfortunately, when most of the locals are struggling with putting gas in their cars and food in their bellies in the same week, custom soaps and candles weren’t on the menu. Even with all that’s happened, we have so many blessings that it’s hard to complain. I have a beautiful son, a husband who loves me, a God who never fails me though I fail him daily, and a nice home, and wonderful extended family.

For the last 3 years, we’ve stubbornly held on to enough raw materials, candles, soaps, etc., that when asked if we wanted to do a booth at the carnival, I figured it’d be a good way to get my toes in the water again. And it was. We managed to make a little money out of it. Most importantly, though, was the opportunity to help the school. Second, I’d have to say that having some of my customers from our original storefront come over and purchase goods, and tell me how much they loved our products and how much they missed us really soothed my soul. It was a salve to wounds I thought had healed long ago. And it was the push I needed to start doing a little of the crafting I love again. I’d say that’s a pretty amazing day.

Reflections in the Georgia Mountains

Living in the suburbs to the north of Atlanta, we are really not that far from the North Georgia Mountains and the various state parks that are peppered through them. We took an afternoon in early October and went to Lake Winfield Scott in Suches, GA which is just outside of Dahlonega. This is a beautiful and scenic spot. We stretched out a blanket with our little man and snacked on some delightful confections from the chocolate shop in Dahlonega. I somehow managed to focus my camera on something other than the amazing cuteness that was my son that afternoon.

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I was drawn to the changing colors of the leaves on the trees and wanted a closer look. As I was focusing I realized just how awesome the reflections beyond were in contrast.

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I love the way the light was filtering through the trees here.

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I enjoyed watching people take in the beauty of  God’s creations from the path across the water. The reflections on the calm waters were quite pretty here.

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You can see the clear and magnificent blue skies in the reflections in this shot. It was such a glorious day in early fall.

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Last one… and my favorite. Reflections and Light. Mountains and water. Tranquility in nature. Ahhh.